Miner's Reply to Suction Dredging Query is Spot On (Part 1)
(The Klamath River...one of California's dredging and small-scale mining "battlegrounds.")
Stan M. is a Northern California gold miner who's been at this "thing" of ours for longer than I have (and that's been a while for me now brothers and sisters). As many of you already know, anti-mining forces out West including the stereotypical green "weenies," Indian special interests of all flavors and varieties (including their hypocritical casino operations), and the usual run of weak-willed, slack-jawed politicos in the once-Golden State have stopped suction dredging.
Most California miners (and myself) don't think dredging will return to California's streams any time soon...if ever. At any rate, Stan was recently asked this question: "It's the suction dredging that does the most damage, isn't it?" I thought Stan's reply was so spot on it should be read by all of you out there, so with very minor editorial changes, here it is:
"No, it isn't. Suction dredging does no damage at all to the rivers. I've been dredging since 1969 and I know what I'm talking about. These people that make these laws and regulations have never dredged or witnessed a dredge operation in their lives . So they don't know what they are talking about."
"The Fish Go Crazy"
"There have been many studies done by the government and universities that have all come out positive for dredging. Dredging turns over the bottom of a river, releasing silts and nutrients that fish live off of. Dredging also removes the mercury, lead, and other bad heavy metals from the rivers...these stay in the dredging sluice box."
Dickies Work Clothes
"I have literally seen hundreds of fish feeding off the back of my dredge. We make holes in the river bottom where fish can go down where it's cool and hide from predators. When I got tired of dredging I used to take a sand flea...they build their shell from small pieces of rock and glue them around their bodies and live on the surface of large rocks...and pull them out of their shell and release them down the river. The fish go crazy over them and I used to do it for close to an hour at a time, feeding the trout and salmon. At times they would almost eat out of my hand."
"This is a Political Movement"
"This is a political movement by the Karuk Tribe to stop all activity in the rivers and get the white man off the Klamath River and out of Happy Camp, California. My XXXX, who XXXX (Note: Names and specific info removed here by me to protect Stan's family's privacy. J. R.) heard this in a meeting they had about two years ago...so I know it's true."
"Their next movement (when dredging is stopped for good) will be to halt all activity from high bankers on the Klamath River. Next will come the fisherman and the rafters. Then private property owners like me. This is the Karuk's agenda and they use money from huge organized foundations like the Pew Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Turner Foundation to do this."
"They want our area to revert back to what it was before Columbus came to the New World...that's a fact and they have said it many times. Yet they are always eager to take free money, free housing, and free health care from us taxpayers, plus all the salmon they can gill net and then say they never ever want to see another white man. Truth is, there are very few true Indians left...in fact, the majority look just like you or me."
Stan is telling it like it is and I couldn't agree more. A BS sandwich is still a BS sandwich, no matter how much "bread" you use on the outside.
There's more to come from Stan M., so stay tuned.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "'I Guess I'll Just Pay a Fine and Go to Hell'"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2011
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